Diane Dimond: Paragon of Deceit – not obsessed with Michael Jackson?
“During all the coverage of Michael Jackson’s supposed molestation of this teenage boy, I turned on ‘CBS This Morning’ and saw Diane Dimond being interviewed by Paula Zahn. And I remember thinking, ‘This is a seminal moment in the regression of TV journalism.'”1
– Los Angeles times TV critic Howard Rosenberg
DIANE PUTS HER FOOT IN HER MOUTH AGAIN
The moment Michael Jackson was arrested and charged with child molestation, Diane Dimond insisted that she did not go looking for this story but rather it came looking for her. Of course, she must have forgotten ever making such a statement when, during another interview, she asserted, “I’ve been working this story for 10 years.”2 We would, however, prefer to call her work “jury tainting” in light of several absolutely unprofessional and unethical activities that have caused observers to question her “journalistic” inclinations and sensibilities.
Dimond, like her good buddy Tom Sneddon has often decried any assertion that she has a vendetta against Jackson or that she is obsessed with the child molestation allegations. In her own words, she is just a determined investigative journalist who is determined to get to the bottom of a huge story. To her credit, Dimond did offer some sound advice concerning how to evaluate a story: “You have to listen carefully to the reporters. If they’re giving their opinion, that’s not necessarily the truth. You have to, as a listener or viewer, think logically for yourself. What is true and what is false?”3 Following these wise words, we invite readers to assess the veracity of several stories Ms. Dimond has reported.
For instance, Dimond stated confidently, “I am 99.9% sure that Jordan Chandler will testify during the grand jury.”4 The only problem was that it never happened. Dimond did her best to make it appear as if the prosecution had scored a windfall. Of course, one has to ask logically: If Jordan Chandler was so eager to testify as Dimond was reporting, why did the prosecution (or sources close to them) whine about not being able to serve him a subpoena? If Chandler was eager to see justice done for the alleged injustice done to him, one would logically assume that no writ or court order would have even been necessary to get him to the stand. Score one for logic and against Dimond’s “objective” and truth-centered reporting.
Dimond was also one of the first to report the erroneous story that the prosecution had seized love letters allegedly written by Jackson to the latest accuser. On a November 24, 2003 edition of Larry King Live,5 Dimond, along with famed attorney Johnnie Cochran, Chris Pixley and Court TV’s Nancy Grace, did not hesitate much when discussing them:
KING: Do we — hold it! Does anyone here — does anyone here — anyone — know of the existence of these letters?
DIMOND: I absolutely know of their existence!
KING: Diane, have you read them?
DIMOND: No, I have not read them, but I absolutely know that that was tops on the list of the DA and sheriff’s department, things to look for inside Neverland. Listen, Larry, these are letters that are written in Michael Jackson’s hand. They are said to be — no, I’ve not read them, but they — they went after them because they’re said to be so sensational and so salacious in nature that this could be a key to the prosecution.
When pressed about her certainty of the letters Dimond got very defensive. Consider this entertaining exchange between her and Pixley :
PIXLEY: I think it’s inevitable that they’re going to report the story in one way, though, Larry, and that’s to say that Michael Jackson is guilty of these charges…
DIMOND: Oh, BS!
PIXLEY: … before there are even charges. I’m sorry, Diane…
PIXLEY:… have you entertained for a moment the idea that these love letters that you know nothing about may be just that, nothing?
DIMOND: First of all, Chris, I do know about them, and I know about them from high law enforcement sources. But I have always said, I don’t know if Michael Jackson is a pedophile. This charge should go to court.
PIXLEY: You said they play it close to the chest, you think this is a good DA’s office that doesn’t leak stories, that play it close to the chest. But you know from high-ranking officials exactly what these letters say, or at least…
DIMOND: I didn’t say I know what they say!
PIXLEY: … what they are likely to say…
DIMOND: If you’re going to…
PIXLEY:… that they’re salacious.
DIMOND: And you know what, Chris? Get it right! I get it right when I quote somebody! You get it right when you quote me!
PIXLEY:Who are you quoting about the letters, then, Diane, so we can get it right? Who is it that you’re quoting?
DIMOND: I’m not going to…
PIXLEY: You don’t have anyone to quote.
DIMOND: … give you my sources! I’m not giving you my sources!
PIXLEY:Then why are we talking about this as though it’s a fact?
Of course, Dimond did not “get it right” at all concerning this story and her merely quoting a source did not make the story right either. As Pixley hinted, the story was as phony as a three dollar bill,6 adding fuel to the notion that Dimond has little intention of reporting the truth but rather reporting what she knows to be false and potentially damaging to Jackson and his defense team. We will not even bother to speculate as to who her “source” was (the person”s identity should be quite obvious). It suffices to say that this person appears to have had little intention of disseminating truth and used whatever willing vessel he (or she) could find. Dimond fit the bill. Yet we are supposed to trust this king of reporting to provide “unbiased” information concerning the case.
DIANE PLAYS THE BLAME GAME
Perhaps the most egregious transgression Dimond committed revolved around the now-not-so-confidential settlement Jackson reached with his 1993 accuser’s family. Note the following excerpts from her “reports” on the matter:
‘The Abrams Report’ for June 15
“Right here on the top of page 14, the amount of the trust fund Jackson agrees to set up is not redacted — $15,331,250. His mom and dad both got $1.5 million each upon signing the settlement, and sources say that Michael Jackson also agreed to pay the family’s attorney, Larry Feldman, at least $5 million plus expenses.
This is the civil suit that the boy’s family filed way back in 1993. Check out the complaints here. They charge sexual battery, battery, seduction, willful misconduct, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud and negligence. In the end, in the final settlement agreement, Jackson agrees to pay only for alleged negligence. But look at what was alleged in the original lawsuit. It’s on page 44 and 45.
‘Defendant, Michael Jackson, negligently had offensive contacts with plaintiff, which were both explicitly sexual and otherwise. As a direct result of the negligence, the plaintiff has suffered injury to his health, strength, and activity, injury to his body and shock and injury to his nervous system.’ We do need to point out, though, that in the final settlement, Michael Jackson specifically says that this agreement shall not be construed, this is a quote, shall not be construed as an admission by Jackson that he has acted wrongfully with respect to the minor.“7
June 16, 2004 (Court TV)
Diane Dimond: In that settlement, there was no definition of negligence, just that Jackson agreed to the allegation of negligence from the civil suit. If you’ll look at the civil suit posted on our website, and that is case # SC026226, and look at page 15, paragraphs 44-45, that’s the allegation Michael Jackson agreed to pay for. As you can see, it mentions that “Jackson negligently had offensive contacts with plaintiff which were both explicitly sexual and otherwise.” My reaction to this is: I can’t figure out how someone can be negligently explicitly sexual with a child and still deny sexual molestation occurred.8
Dimond leaked information about the confidential (that means confidential, folks) 1994 settlement agreement between Jackson and the Chandlers. Please note the highlighted portions. One day she is at least halfway clear that she is discussing two separate documents: Evan Chandler’s lawsuit that accuses Jackson of horrific deeds with his son; and another document where Jackson settles with the Chandler family over claims of “negligence.” The next day, Dimond goes out of her way to somehow tie negligence to sexual abuse, something that the settlement does not support. In fact, it is clear from the wording of the settlement document that the negligence claim had nothing to do with sexual abuse. According to the document: “The Parties recognize that the Settlement Payment set forth in this paragraph 3 are in settlement of claims by Jordan Chandler, Evan Chandler and June Chandler for alleged compensatory damages for alleged personal injuries arising out of claims of negligence and not for claims of intentional or wrongful acts of sexual molestation.” Referring to the lawsuit’s definition of “negligence” is inconclusive because each legal document intentionally defines the terms to ensure that there is no misunderstanding.
While she was intent on pointing out that Jackson’s settlement was not meant to be construed as an admission of guilt, she conveniently forgot to acknowledge the fact that the Chandler family agreed to all of the terms that Jackson’s lawyers outlined – namely, that Jackson did not molest the boy.9 Dimond combined information from a lawsuit Evan Chandler filed against Jackson, a suit wracked with defamatory accusations of Jackson being a sexual predator, with Jackson’s actual settlement. To make matters even more ridiculous, she blamed Jackson’s ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley for being responsible for the leaking of the documents.10
LET’S TRY TO UNDERSTAND DIANE.
There is, perhaps, a psychological reason for Dimond’s treatment of Jackson. Cognitive dissonance refers to the “psychological phenomenon which refers to the discomfort felt at a discrepancy between what you already know or believe, and new information or interpretation.” Such a description could easily call to mind the Court TV investigative correspondent, who clearly has turned covering Michael Jackson into a one-woman industry.
Cognitive dissonance rears its head in Dimond’s psyche in her own inability to recognize her assumptions about Jackson. For instance, she comments that “I’ve learned a lot that I’ve put on the air and learned a lot that I could never put on the air because I couldn’t substantiate it,” she said. “But I’m going to keep my opinion to myself.” The funny thing is, Ms. Dimond would go on to state just a few lines later in the same interview: “Look at him. Look at what he’s done to himself. He must be so full of self-loathing to carve off the tip of his nose and plant things in his cheeks. My overwhelming feeling for him is pity.”12 One could almost believe that Dimond indeed feels sorry for Jackson if not for her unceasingly biased negative reporting on him. In addition, if one looks closely at her statement, she contends that Jackson has had things done to his face (i.e. cheek implants) that he has repeatedly denied having done. Even worse, her slanted comments about Jackson on the air and in print (too numerous to list here) are proof positive that she feels anything but sorry for him but loathes him as much as she claims he loathes himself.
Dimond drowns in a Jeffersonian-like cognitive dissonance that blinds her to her own queasy obsession with a figure she claims she is not obsessed with. Of course, much of the media has the same problem, for in one breath they proclaim the “death” of everything Jackson while simultaneously dropping his name everywhere in order to garner attention and ratings. Dimond’s slapdash and downright unethical coverage of both Jackson and the child molestation allegations against him, not surprisingly, stay true to form.
Lately, the tabloid reporter has been mysteriously silent. Perhaps her silence is connected to speculation that her close ties to the prosecution have in fact made her a potential witness in the case should it go to trial. In addition, the very fact that Dimond was dropping hints in June 2003 that Jackson would soon go “splat” is all the more amazing considering that this is the exact same month that Sneddon jumpstarted his “investigation” into the allegations. Her obsession with inserting herself into this poorly scripted flim-flam job may find her on the hot seat before a jury and the glare of her own network’s (Court TV) cameras.
District Attorney Tom Sneddon appears to have the same problem. Professional help will be provided once the cases against Mr. Jackson are dealt with and debunked. One has the feeling that neither Sneddon nor Dimond will be psychologically prepared for Jackson’s innocence or for the ramifications of perpetuating what they may have known was a blatant lie in the first place.